Paddle boarding has been a heat in recent years. This new trend in water sports have brought people into getting their first stand up paddle board and trying it out for the very frist time. Paddle boarding is fairly easy to learn, that's probably one of the reasons why it become so popular so quickly around the world. As easy as it is, there are still things a beginner paddler should know before starting. Here we've rounded up several useful tips for paddle boarding beginners.
Get a suitable board
There are various types or stand up paddle boards. Typically, an all-around inflatable stand up paddle board is the best option for beginners. An all-around paddleboard is easy to maneuver, balance and have a decent performance on the water. It'll be able to help you learn the necessary balancing and paddling skills faster. Another spec you should consider when getting a board is the width. Usually for tall people, a wide board would be a more suitable choice since wide boards are more stable. But if the board is too wide for you, you could find yourself having a hard time trying to find a spot to stand on that would allow you to perform a stroke comfortably. There there are local rental stores around, rent one from there and try them out first before actually buying one. Or you may ask the shop owner for recommendations. When going online to purchase your board, get one from trusted brands like Goosehill Sport SUP, or redpaddle.
Make sure the SUP board you get has a leash on it. For beginners, falling off the board into the water is an ever-present danger, and a leash will help prevent the board from floating away from you.
Learn to paddle effectively
It's often recommended that you take a course before you take on the waters on your own. On the other hand, some have found it easier to learn on their own. Whichever route you use, you should know how to operate your paddle.
One way to learn how to paddle professionally is to take a SUP course before going on the water. But there are people who prefer to learn on their own, and it's perfectly okay because it is actually pretty easy. The size of the paddle is important. It's recommended that you use a paddle that's as tall as your slightly outstretched arm when reaching over your head. Most paddles are actually adjustable so if the current length is not suitable, just adjust it to the right size. To accelerate, the right move is from front to back about five to seven times on each side. Turning around is a bit tricky. You'll need to stand on the back/tail of the board. This will make turning the front/nose easier. Once you are ready, start the stroke from the back of the board to the front ideally in a half-circular motion. The key to balancing yourself on the board is to utilize your core and your leg muscles.
Learn how to fall without hurting yourself
Learning the necessary paddle boarding skills doesn't mean there's nothing left to learn. As is said previously, falling, as a beginner, is basically inevitable. So you need to know how to avoid hurting yourself when you fall off/onto the board. This is especially important if you use a hardboard. But it would be less of a concern if you use an inflatable SUP board since inflatables are softer, thus significantly lower the odds of you getting injured when you fall. That's why inflatable stand up paddle boards are more recommended for beginners. If you use a hardboard, here's how you are supposed to fall to lower the risk of injury. If there's nothing and no one around, try not to fall close to the board or hold on to the board. Just embrace the fall. But if you are not sure what's under the water, falling off could be really dangerous, so you should probably do a little research about the place you are about to paddle on in advance. Remember to avoid choppy water with rocks in the water. Such places is really dangerous even for skilled paddlers. Once you're in the water, try to your feet behind you and float as your chest leans on the board. Take time to catch your breath before getting back onto the board. Once ready, hold on to the handle in the middle of the board with one hand and reach the other arm to the opposite edge of the board to pull up on the board from your chest to your knees. Once on the board, take a few minutes to regain balance on your knees before getting back on your feet.
Although paddleboarding is easy to learn, a few useful beginner tips would go a long way to make it enjoyable. When getting your first board, products from brands like Goosehill Sport SUP would be a great choice since they are all-around and versatile and priced rather reasonably.